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be looking for when they gather next month to choose benedict's successor. >> announcer: major funding for religion and edge ikz news weekly is brute to you by a family foundation dedicated to its founders' interest in religion, community development and education. additional funding also provided by mutual of america, designing customized, individl and group retirement products. that's why we're retirement company. and the corporation for public broadcasting. >> welcome. i'm bob abernethy. it's good to have you with us. pope benedict xvi stunned the world this week with the surprise announcement that he's decided to resign, the first pope to step down in 600 years. our coverage today includes analysis from two experts on the church, and it begins with reacti from catholics and non-catholics alie, gathered by our managing editor kim lawton. >> benedict said he's resigning "for the good of the church." >> isn't that a profound sign of his own humility in that he was able to recognize when, you know, it just was more than he could handle? and instead of letting just sort of others do the
>>> a day of reflection and hope. pope benedict xvi planning to meet with the cardinals this morning. good morning and welcome to a special edition of "early start," i'm zoraida sambolin. >> i'm john berman. is it 4:00 a.m. in the east. welcome to cnn's live coverage of the pope's last day on the throne of st. peter. >> just ten hours from now pope benedict xvi becomes pope emeritus. he's not riding off into the sunset or helicopter just yet. at 5:00 a.m. eastern, the pope meets with the cardinalss who will pick his replacement. over 100 of them are expected to be on hand and the pontiff will spend a minute or two with each and every one of them. >> that should be fascinating. then cardinal seodano will spea and the pope will make a few spontaneous remarks before leaving his residence one last time. >> this truly is a historic day, not only for a vatican that finds itself at a crossroads but for 1.2 billion catholics awaiting a new spiritual leader and new direction. cnn's chief international correspondent christiane amanpour is live from rome this morning. good morning
alert from have aed can city where pope benedict xvi is making his final public appearance before resigning. good morning. i am heather childers. >> i am patti ann browne. today is wednesday february 27th. moments ago the pope made his appearance. we are looking live at square. they bid him farewell before he officially resigns tomorrow. 50,000 people estimated to be in that square right now. they are watching the pope by giant television screen all along the main boulevard. >> 250,000 people there. as of 8:00 p.m. tomorrow 2:00 p.m. eastern time pope benedict xvi will officially step down. he shocked the world with the announcement earlier this month. the first pope in fact in 600 years to resign. he no longer has the mental or physical strength to leave the catholic church. his final blessing sunday he reacured faithful followers he is not abandoning the church and he will spend his final years in prayer. for more coverage of the pope's final public pier rance we go life to rome where amy kellogg is standing by in saint peters square. she joini us on the phone. >> i am where you
benedict will be staying at castel gandolfo. it's been a retreat for popes for several centuries now. a monastery in the vatican garden is being renovated as a permanent home for him it's a 8,600 square fight complex. renovations have been in the works since november and expected to be completed in the spring. his longtime housekeepers will join him. our special edition of "early start," the pope's last day continues right now. >> our special coverage continues right here on cnn. >>> history in the making. pope benedict xvi about to carry out the last chaj of his papacy meeting one by one with the cardinals who will choose his successor and he might be face-to-face with the next pope in just a few minutes on this last day on the throne of st. peter. good morning. welcome to this special edition of "early start." i'm john berman. >> and i'm zoraida sambolin. we'd like to welcome our viewers from around the world on cnn international. it's the top of the hour, thursday, february 28th. we are witnessing history in the making. no one alive has ever seen a sitting pope step down. >> it is
announcement that pope benedict is resigning, catholics around the world are wondering who will take over from him. benedict will stay in rome after retiring, but have said that he will not interfere in the succession process. my colleague is in rome. so, the vatican says there will be a new pope in time for easter? >> that is right. starting in the 24 to march. you can bet that they will see a lot of wheeling and dealing going on in the vatican before that. lots of different powers within the decision making body to choose the next pope. a lot of speculation as well. not just a month the world's catholics. but people asking why the pope chose this moment to stand down. he says he is tired. there has been a lot of speculation about ill health. a few moments ago there was a press conference from the spokespeople for the vatican. they said there were no serious health issues and that the pope had operation on his pacemaker not long ago, but that this had to do with internal politics, which will also affect who will be the next pope. there are lots of pulp makers wandering around here on the stre
and will take on a different relevance today. so the car is traveling right now. we just watched pope benedict leave the vatican. there they are moving along. >> straight to the helicopter is where they're headed. let's go to christiane amanpour and father irwin who are in rome right now sort of in the middle of all of that clapping and celebrating we just saw, christiane. >> reporter: indeed. and off he goes in that car, as you said, at a pretty brisk clip. he's going to the helipad which i'm told is at the vatican train station, if you can believe it and you know better than i that there is a vatican train station. he'll get on the helicopter and go. i just came from the north american college where i interviewed cardinal dolan about half an hour ago and he said, cardinal dolan, that him and many of the other cardinals, the american elected cardinals who are going to be staying there are going to go up to the roof to see if they can see the helicopter taking off. we've already seen cardinal turkson of ghana has joined the twitter revolution and he himself from the top of st. peter's behind m
is pouring in from around the globe as the head of the catholic church pope benedict, plans to step down. the first time a pope has resigned in self new jersey. >> a gunman opening fire inside a courthouse in delware. his estranged wife may be among the dead. a manhunt for an ex-cop accused of targeting police and their families. now the los angeles police have offered a seven-figure reward to information leading to his capture. all ahead, unless breaking news changes everything, on "studio b." >> first from fox's 3:00, bombshell ai knowns. which the world has not seen since 1415. pope benedict xvi saying he is stepping down. a move that took even his closest advisers by surprise and sets the stage for a new era in the catholic church and its bun billion catholics around the world. the 85-year-old pontiff says he doesn't have the strength to continue his duties in the church and will step down at the opened the month. his -- some cardinals not understanding what he said. we're seeing the same reaction from catholics all over the world, including here in the united states, the new york ar
benedict announces that he will resign at the end of this month. >> you are joking. the pope? oh, my god. >> who will lead the catholic church next and what continent will he come from? we wait for the white smoke to rebuild the succession. with the economy at the forefront, what should we be listening for? we asked one of the top leaders. welcome to our viewers on public television in america and around the globe. joseph is 85 years old and his health is failing. in any other profession, at his resignation would come at no surprise at all. it's as the leader of the catholic church, it is no surprise at all. pope benedict xvi announced that he will resign at the end of february. he is the first pope to do so in 600 years. >> it was during a routine meeting with vatican card bills that pope benedict did something that no pontiff had done in nearly 600 years. he announced his resignation and stunned his audience. he said that i have come to the certainty that my strengths, in due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate execution of saint peter's ministry. pope benedict said
. >> reporter: pope benedict 16 says he will be quitting february 28, less than 8 years into his papacy. he said his strength has deteriorated the last couple months and he noted a lack of strength to fulfill his mission. the senior sa senior advisor sae noticed the pope slowing down. we watched pope john paul ii suffer through the last few years of his papacy. maybe he wanted to avoid that. the former cardinal joseph ratzinger was touched by the charges of child abuse in the catholic church. bill: what happens next on the dates that are aren't? >> reporter: he's leaving february 28, 8:00 p.m. local time in rome. that leaves that very important vacancy and sets up a conclave of cardinals. vatican says by mid-march at the latest. vatican says we should have a new pope by esther sunday march 31. pope benedict will not take part in the conclave. usually a conclave happens after a pope dies. 1415 was the last time a pope quit in office. who is the next pope? he could come from developing areas of the world. it guarantees a lot of drama and a lot of black or white smoke coming from the roof is sistin
the vatican today as tens of thousands crowded st. peter's square for one of pope benedict xvi final public appearances. the pope will set step down 11 days from now, setting in motion the search for a new leader and maybe a new direction for the catholic church. nbc's anne thompson is at the vatican tonight with more. anne? >> reporter: good evening, lester. tonight, the pope is on a week-long lenten retreat inside the vatican with the days of his papacy numbered. now, every public appearance of benedict's is a must-see event. for more than 50,000 people, this was the only place to be, a global villageful the faithful and curious in st. peter's square to say thank you and good-bye to pope benedict xvi. >> as soon as he resigned, i knew i definitely wanted to come and witness it. >> reporter: 20-year-old thaddius howard of georgia brought an american flag. >> i wanted to let the pope know that he is supported by all of us from america. >> reporter: in six different languages, benedict addressed the crowd. >> thank you for the prayers and support you have shown me. >> reporter:? german, he s
benedict xvi making his final official speech to the public before stepping down just over 24 hours from now. at 8:00 p.m. tomorrow, he becomes the first pope in centuries to resign. and he's leaving behind a vatican really at a cross roads. the catholic church facing difficult challenges and also opportunities as it moves forward. now, as i say, usually when there's a transition and we've covered it so many times, well, not so many times, but the last one i was here, and that was because a pope died. john paul ii died after living his last years infirmed and in visible pain. now we have a transition, we have a living pope. you're not watching a funeral before the next pope is elected. you're not watching the world's heads of state come here to pay their respects to the departed pope. you're seeing a much different kind of transition. john al whlen, what is pope benedict going to do the rest of the day? >> normally the wednesday audience, the pope gives religious instruction rooted in scripture. but today i would imagine that knowing the momentous nature of what's happening, it's probabl
some even made the pope laugh as he reached out to them. and in just a couple hours, benedict will depart the vatican for the last time as pope. he will take off from the helipad just behind the st. peter's basilica there. and vatican television cameras will follow the journey, live, robin. >> what history you're witnessing, george. you're going to be there all morning long, live. >>> and here, with josh, sam, bianna in for lara. we have a full morning here in new york as well. we are going to bring you the latest encouraging headlines for your wallet. the dow surging near record highs. bianna's going to bring us that. >>> and how about this? the hairstylist at war over a fortune. the co-workers said they bought the ticket as a group. one of them claimed the whole prize for herself. and that would never happen here. >> mostly never. >> full morning ahead. >>> of course, let's go back, now, to george in rome. george? >> and it is just a glorious day here, robin. sunny, warm. almost spring-like. those cardinals that the pope met with this morning have already begun their informa
that pope benedict will resign on february 28th. the vatican confirming this information. he made a statement in latin during a small event saying that he does not have the strength anymore. the vatican did not offer any more explanation but once again this breaking news out of vatican city that pope benedict will resign as of february 28th. at the live desk, angie goff, news 4. >>> thank you, angie. president obama will honor a hero from the war in afghanistan. he'll award this man the medal of honor. he and his fellow soldiers battled hundreds of taliban fighters for more than 12 hours in 2009. eight americans died. romesha will be the only third living member to receive the medal of honor. >>> authorities in california are preparing for another day of searching for a suspected killer. police in los angeles are offering $1 million for information on christopher dorner, an ex-police officer accused of murdering three people. officers surrounding a home improvement store yesterday after someone reported seeing dorner there. investigators believe he's targeting other lapd officers
. >>> tonight on "nightline," pope steps down. a bombshell announcement as pope benedict becomes the first pontiff to resign in almost 600 years. the stunning move that has the world asking who's next. >>> from "hunger games" to "silver linings playbook" she is captivating audiences everywhere. oscar front-runner jennifer lawrence talks tinseltown parties and hollywood royalty. >>> and swimsuit inc. a show-stopping cover as kate upton graces "sports illustrated" swimsuit edition once more. we go inside the big business of a well-worn bikini. >>> keep it right here, america. "nightline" is back in just 60 seconds. [ male announcer ] pillsbury grands biscuits. delicious. but say i press a few out flat... add some beef sloppy joe sauce... and cheese fold it all up and boom! i just made an unbeatable unsloppy joe pillsbury grands biscuits. let the making begin. [ female announcer ] in just 60 seconds, you can't get more italian. it's on. let's roll. >>> from new york city, this is "nightline" with bill weir. >> if the last 600 years have taught us anything it's that popes don't quit. there is
. >>> we do have breaking news this morning. shocking news, really. pope benedict xvi isresigning. a spokesman will not reveal way. fatigue and possibly declining health over the past year, but, again, no reason has been given. he became pope in 2005. you will remember, he had been joseph rat singer, cardinal, a major figure at the vatican for years before he became pope benedict. german born. been pope for nearly eight years. nearly eight years and this is just a major, major bit of news this morning. coming out of the vatican, again, cnn confirming the pope will step down on february 28th, which is just a little over two weeks from today. >> and no clear reason. we're trying to get more details to share those with you. this is shocking. this is shocking, absolutely shocking. we'll continue to watch the developments for you, folks. 6:00. the painstaking cleanup getting under way after a violent tornado ripped through mississippi tearing apart homes, businesses and even causing damage to a university campus. a storm chaser occasi e er -- l. capture these images. this is 100 miles
the successor to pope benedict after that shocking decision yesterday to step down. and another big story we're following is back at home, because the president is putting the finishing touches on the first state of the union speech of his second term. and we'll have a lot more on that coming up in this hour. but this morning, we are starting to get new information about pope benedict, and particularly about his health. decisions that may have played into his shocking announcement to abdicate. for example, we now know this morning, the pope has had a pacemaker for some time and actually had a minor operation to replace its batteries three months ago. we're also hearing for the first time about a fall he took while he was on a trip to cuba in mexico. just hours after his announcement, this video circulated. you can see it shows lightning striking st. peter's basilica, maybe leading some catholics to wonder if it was some sort of sign from above. a sign of what, that's also a source of speculation here. i'm joined by elizabeth lev here in rome. good to see you. >> great to be here. it's a real
." gayle king is off. pope benedict is resigning in just a few hours. he's stepping down with promises to obey his successor. >> the pope met once last time with the college of cardinals one of those men will be the next leader of 1.2 billion roman catholics. allen pizzey is in vatican city to begin our coverage of the pope benedict's farewell. good morning. >> reporter: good morning. by the time evening begins to fall over rome benedict will be looking down at the vatican from a helicopter. three hours later he will no longer be pope and the politicking to find the new one can begin in earnest. in one of his final acts inside the vatican, pope benedict said good-bye to the cardinals. 67 of whole he had elevated to their position as the prince of the church. addressing what he called the future pope among you, benedict programs ed promised his unconditional reverence and obedience, among those making the list although a long shot is u.s. cardinal timothy dolan. in an interview cardinal dolan reflected on what kind of man will emerge as pope. >> all the other things
and makes us new." just ahead, benedict's health, his replacement, and what's next for the catholic church. "newsroom" starts now. >>> good morning. thank you so much for joining me. i'm carol costello. we begin with a bombshell greeting 1 billion catholics around the world. their spiritual leader, pope benedict xvi stepping down at the end of the month. we're bringing you all the angles of this developing story. joining me now for this hour's special coverage, chris cuomo, he's in new york. >> good morning, carol. great to joining here. >>> shocking news because this simply hasn't been done. it's been almost 600 years since a pope resigned. it was gregory xii. it was to end the civil war. the question becomes why is pope benedict doing this now? we're going to get reaction first because no one saw this coming, certainly in this country. let's start off our coverage with deb feyerick in st. patrick's cathedral in new york city, the center of the american catholic tradition here. deb, what are you hearing this morning? what a shocker. >> reporter: it's fascinating because the resignation to
>> pelley: tonight, the announcement no one on earth saw coming. pope benedict xvi becomes the first pope in six centuries to resign. allen pizzey in vatican city with what happens now. mark phillips on who might be next. tensions are high after reported sightings of the most wanted man in california. bill whitaker reports on the dragnet. we now know what a massive tornado left behind in mississippi -- >> that is big! >> pelley: while in new england they're counting the losses from the record blizzard. and cliff romesha receives the medal of honor. he tells david martin how he earned the highest award for valor. >> reporter: the citation says there were 400 enemy soldiers. >> and we had 52 great americans. didn't seem fair to them. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: good evening. when the news got out today, catholics all over the world were asking whether they had heard correctly. something that just doesn't happen just did: a pope resigned. pope benedict xvi, 85 years old and frail, told a meeting of cardinals today he
really surprised. >> reporter: pope benedict had been looking frail recently, using a moveable platform during services, so he wouldn't have to walk. relying on a cane. the pope wants more rest, said his 89-year-old brother in germany. he said his brother has been thinking about stepping down for months. and had been advised by his doctors not to take anymore long, international flights, such as a planned trip to brazil in july. the pope's decision is unprecedented in modern times. the last similar case was pope celestine v, who had praise for pope benedict today. >> he has given church the last great service he will give the church. he's stepping off the stage when he feels he can't exercise the office of peter. >> reporter: benedict seemed to many a reluctant pope, as cardinal ratzinger under john paul ii, he was known as a conservative guardian of church doctrine, opposing women priests, abortion and homosexuality. as pope, he inherited the church's biggest scandal in decades. revelations that priests had sexually abused children. he met with victims and apologized. >> for all, i exp
now pope benedict xvi will officially become emeritus pope. cbs reporter vinita nair joins us live from the vatican with more on today's historic event. good afternoon. >> reporter: good afternoon. it's interesting. in a way today is the first day of the week that we have been here that really feels somber and i think that's what the pope had intended. he said he wanted today to be quiet, of course, after his retirement today he intends to sort of remove himself from the world. he wants to pray, he wants to meditate first. but earlier today, he had the opportunity to meet with his college of cardinals and give them some important messages. >>> reporter: cardinals stood and clapped for pope benedict xvi as met with them at the vatican ahead of his historic resignation. the pontiff blessed them and promised to show unconditional reverence and obedience to the next pope. the 85-year-old called for the church to remain united and said he would continue to support cardinals in prayer. pope benedict gave an emotional farewell to 150,000 people in st. p
for something the church has not experienced since the middle ages, pope benedict going through the final motions before stepping down as leader of the catholic church. here he is earlier this morning appearing before an assembly of the world's cardinals. the pope met with each of them individually for just a minute or two. and it will now be up to many of these men to choose his successor. it's an almost unprecedented challenge to an ancient religion grappling with the turmoil and scandal that's dogged benedict's reign. >> translator: during eight years we have lived with faith, marvelous moments in the history of the church and also times when the world is covered by dark clouds. >> there is no time frame for electing the next pope, but here's how benedict's leadership will end, next hour the pope leaves the vatican his home and will fly to his summer residence at castell gandolfo, at 2:00 eastern his reign ends and the catholic church faces its challenges without an official leader. we're following all the latest on this story of intrigue and uncertainty. senior international correspon
>>> breaking news we have been telling you about. pope benedict xvi resigning february 28th. he is citing ill health. and uncertainty what that ill health will be. we're trying to get more details. unprecedented. >> hasn't happened in 600 years. so many questions. so much now that needs to happen with electing the new pope. we'll bring you the information coming up on "starting point" a few seconds from now. that's "early start." i'm john berman. >> i'm sfwlor azoraida sambolin. "starting point" with soledad o'brien starts right now. >>> we begin with breaking news. pope benedict xvi resigning. age and fatigue are the reasons behind his resignation. here is what the statement reads in part "both strength of mind and body are necessary. strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that i have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me." this tweet came from the pope's account 23 hours ago. we must trust in the mitty power of god's mercy. we are all sinners, but his grace transforms us and makes us new. this woul
of benedict xvi. it began as a routine vatican ceremony, but the pope's announcement in latin was anything but routine. "i have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the papal ministry." with that, for the first time in 600 years, a pope is resigning. benedict xvi was already old, 78, when he became pope. that was 2005. here he is almost eight years later, clearly frail and feeble. his older brother, father georg ratzinger, said today benedict is having trouble walking and had been advised by his doctors to stop traveling overseas. benedict will relinquish his papacy on february 28th. >> today's decision by benedict xvi came as a huge surprise to me, and, i think, to everyone in rome and everyone in the vatican. >> reporter: as a cardinal, joseph ratzinger was known as john paul ii's enforcer of religious doctrine. he did not like answering questions. here's abc's brian ross asking him about a sexual abuse case in 2002. >> reporter: the question was -- >> come to me when the moment is given. but not yet. >> reporter
to ruling for life. pope benedict spent his last night in the papal vatican as the clock ticks down to his historic resignation. he'll step down after meeting with cardinals around the world and saying one last good-bye to followers. he gave an emotional farewell to 150,000 people in st. peters square yesterday. >> it did mean a lot, and to see the affection of the people the appreciation of the crowd, it was -- it was touching. >> reporter: later today the pope will take a ten-minute helicopter ride to castel gandolfo, the pope's summer retreat on the outskirts of rome. >> he'll spend a couple months there until there's a new pope and things are ready. he'll be basically spending a life of prayer in a convent on the vatican grounds. >> reporter: most of the 115 cardinals who will elect pope benedict's successor are already here in rome and speculation is spreading fast about who will replace him. >> i think it's going to be from africa or latin america. >> what matters most is that it's something who can dwight the church into the future. >> reporter: pope benedict
that just doesn't happen just did: a pope resigned. pope benedict xvi 85 years old and frail told a meeting of cardinals today he no longer has the physical and mental strength to carry out his responsibilities. on february 28 he will become the first phone step down since the 15th century, leaving the church in search of a new leader. we have a team of correspondents covering this historic day and the future of the catholic church beginning with allen pizzey in vatican city. >> reporter: the surprise announcement was delivered to a gathering of cardinals in latin. citing his age pope benedict said to do his work both strength of mind and body are necessary and that his have deteriorated "to the extent that i have to recognize my incapacity to fulfill the ministry entrusted to me." vatican sources said the pope had been considering his resignation for some time but the clerics who heard it were still taken by surprise according to bishop oscar sanchez. "we were all stunned" he said. "all the cardinals looked at each other and that was it. we asked for a last blessing." but perhaps they shou
who will become the next pope after pope benedict shocked the catholic church money when he became the first pontiff to resign in a 600 years. the 85-year-old pope cited ill health as the reason for his departure. >> dear brothers, i have convoked you to this. not only for the recanalization but also the communication to the decision of great importance for the life of the church. after having repeatedly examine my conscience before god, i have come to the certainty that my strength, due to advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the ministry. >> catholics around the world expressed shock over the pope's resignation. >> i was shocked because i love the pope. every sunday i come to listen to him and be blessed by him and to shout "long live the pope." but to understand he is only human, unfortunately, it would have been worse tonight if the news had been the pope had died. >> the pope also has the right to get sick. if you stick to the point where he cannot carry out his function, then he should resign. >> the thing is, he is a bit old and wants to rest. it is
in modern times think resignation is acceptable or not. pope benedict said, in fact, made it very clear that being able to resign was acceptable and made this part of the statement released from the vatican, both strength of mind and body is necessary, and lots of questions, of course. we know the date he would be stepping down, which would be february 28th. many questions about why now? mep notice that the pope is much more frail in recent months, and the question would be unbelie unbelievably unusual. let's go to nic robertson joining us by phone. nic, lots of questions. nic live in london this morning. a bit of a stunner. was there any indication that this resignation was coming? >> absolutely none whatsoever, and the last few months, the pope started a twitter account, not what you expect the pope to do when he would say his pope is deteriorating. the pope has looked deep into his conscience, this is a personal and profound decision that he has made with god in light of the responsibilities he has. and the other thing we heard from the papal spokesperson, which is interesting, becau
to be up in like two hours. big news from vatican city tonight. >> pope benedict xvi announcing he is stepping down as leader of the catholic church. >> jon: popes can do that? i assumed the papacy was like a lifetime commitment like being in the mob or being a correspondent on "60 minutes." in any case we'll bring you full team coverage of the pope's resignation in "holy quit." how is it going with that popey changey thing? now, the pope has issued a statement citing the growing toll of his advanced age leaving him ill suited for his ministry. but popes usually don't retire until they are called back to the home office. this hasn't happened in 600 years. the obvious question would be... >> what does a retired pope do? 's a retired pope to do? do retired popes do? jon: i'm not a religious scholar but if i know anything about retired people probably the same as what they all do. ♪ what do you mean what does he do? he's an 85-year-old. what does he do? he sits on his porch in a track suit and wrap-around sunglasses and he yells at the neighbor's kids. maybe he putters around in gar
, breaking news. pope benedict is abdicating, something a pope has not done in over 700 years of the the vatican saying this has nothing to do with outside pressures. [ speaking foreign language ] >> as you hear there, the pope speaking in latin to a meeting of vatican cardinals saying he will step down effective as the leader of the world's -- the 85-year-old pontiff saying his strength is no longer adequate. this news took fearly everyone by surprise, including the archbishop of new york, cardinal dolan. >> i'm as startled as the rest of you and anxious to find out exactly what's going on. >>> other reactions italy's prime minister saying he's greatly shaken by the unexpected news. >>> and british prime minister david cameron said he will be missed as a spiritual leader for millions. >>> and from angela merkel -- he had to make a difficult decision. just some of the reaction that's coming in today. joining mess is rome bureau chief claudio lavagna, and george weigel from washington. claudio, i want to start with you. we have part of the pope's statement. in it he said that b
hopes there will be someone new by the end of march. >> pope benedict will go to a summer retreat after he resigns and then he will move to a monostair where he will dedicate the remainder of his life to prayer. >>> 80 million americans call themselves catholic, but their numbers have been dwindling. some were proud of his decision, others were furious that he didn't do more about child sex abuse by priest. bruce, what did you find? >> among survivors of child sex abuse, there is a sense that pope benedict could have done far more, but among many of the faithful, there is a pride in pope benedict and he remains really quite popular, even though he succeeded the wildly popular, john paul. >> it's very startling. unprepared for. >> cardinal whirl was with the pope in october and had no sign that the pontiff was struggling with his duty. >> he was in full possession. >> part of the conclave that will select the next pope. and he says he will be looking for continuity with the conservative teachings of benedict and john paul. >> there's a basic doctrine that is bedrock or catholic fai
benedict xvi says he is resigning and is the first pontiff to do so in 600 years. we'll tell you why this comes as a surprise. well, well, well. growing up, we didn't have u-verse. we couldn't record four shows at the same time. in my day, you were lucky if you could record two shows. and if mom was recording her dumb show and dad was recording his dumb show then, by george, that's all we watched. and we liked it! today's kids got it so good. [ male announcer ] get u-verse tv for just $19 a month for 1 year when you bundle tv and internet. rethink possible. >> [ pope speaking latin ] >> stunning news from the vatican. pope benedict xvi is resigning. >> it's the first time a pope has resigned in nearly 600 years. >> his health. the last pope to freely resign was in the 13th century. ♪ [ music ]♪ >> stars and surprises on music's biggest night of the year. >> no bare breasts, no thongs, no see-through clothing but apparently, not everyone got the memo. >> as you can see, i read the memo. >> more than 200,000 people are still without power in the northe
to a gathering of cardinals in latin. citing his age, pope benedict said to do his work both strength of mind and body are necessary and that his have deteriorated "to the extent that i have to recognize my incapacity to fulfill the ministry entrusted to me." vatican sources said the pope had been considering his resignation for some time, but the clerics who heard it were still taken by surprise according to bishop oscar sanchez. "we were all stunned" he said. "all the cardinals looked atll each other and that was it.ook we asked for a last blessing." but perhaps they should have seen it coming. benedict has been in failing health for some time and had previously said he would consider resigning if he felt he could no longer carry on. but vatican officials said no specific medical condition prompted the resignation. vatican spokesman father federico lombardi said the pope acted with what he called "great freedom and clarity." >> we will continue to love him and to receive his love. >> reporter: benedict is one of the oldest popes to be elected at the age of 78 in 2005 and he had to cope with
>>> on our broadcast tonight, stepping down. the stunning news from the vatican, pope benedict announces he is resigning. the first to step aside in more than 700 years. as 1 billion catholics are left wondering why, what it means for the church, and who might replace him. >>> the fugitive. the ex cop terrorizing southern california. families of 50 fellow officers are being protected around the clock. a reward now up to $1 million. >>> the big digs, people snowed under and waiting for help. plus a direct hit from a tornado in the south. >>> and a genuine american hero. the incredible story how he saved so many lives, fighting back tears today as he received this nation's highest award for military valor. "nightly news" begins now. >>> from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with brian williams. >>> good evening. it came out of nowhere. and it stunned the over 1 billion catholics around the world when the pope announced early this morning, our time, he is stepping down, abdicating. this hasn't happened in seven centuries. pope benedict has served
the vatican. why did pope benedict really say he is stepping down? and what does it mean for a billion catholics around the world? >>> in ruins. a tornado roaring up the street. electrical wires dangling. the massive cleanup tonight in one american town. >>> rescue. thousands of people stranded on a vacation cruise ship, cut off from the world. and the lifeboat on the way to try to help them tonight. >>> and honor and valor. the emotional ceremony for a heroic soldier. the lesson he teaches about the american spirit. and an unlikely little star in a suit and tie. >>> good evening on this monday night. a centuries old tradition has been shattered by a surprise. pope benedict, chosen to be pope for life, today announced he will resign, citing his failing strength and health. and the toll of his seven years, nine months and 24 days as pope etched on his face. there he was, as we saw him on day one. and now, much thinner, frailer. this is unchartered territory for 1 billion catholics around the world. no pope has resigned in 598 years. and it's happening just 48 hours before the holy seaso
catholics are holding their breath. the stunning news that pope benedict is resigning at the end of the month is a game-changer. after he resigns, the vatican says benedict will live in a monastery in vatican city. meanwhile, the process to elect his successor is already underway. we have this report from vatican city. >> reporter: pope benedict xvi is about to make history. the 85-year-old leader of the catholic church is resigning at the end of the month. he's the first pope to do so in 600 years. the pope's announcement came as a surprise to all but his closest confidantes. he said because of his age and deteriorating health, "i have had to recognize my incapacity to fulfill the ministry entrusted to me." church leaders were shocked and saddened. >> like watching your own dad get old. and admit that he's not up to all the duties of being the head of a family involves. >> reporter: benedict xvi will remain pope until 8:00 p.m. on february 28. shortly after that, the college of cardinals will gather in the sistine chapel to elect the new pope. benedict's suc
businesses and major corporations. what can we do for you? >> his body is frail. pope benedict celebrates ash wednesday mass. today the rubble in syria reveals surprises. president obama goes out on the road. how much can he achieve? welcome to our viewers. pope benedict issued a stern warning. at ash wednesday, the pontiff was interrupted repeatedly by applause. and it will step down at the end of february. >> on ash wednesday catholics remember the body is mortal. this is the last mass he will celebrate as pope. they had to remove the service from a much smaller church in rome. a measure of how deeply this has moved to the faithful. whatever he says will carry enormous symbolic significance. it will be a kind of legacy statement. will this influence retire with him? he will live inside this former monastery. is there a danger his presence will undermine the credibility or legitimacy of his successor? will there be two popes in the vatican. this morning crowds gathered for the usual wednesday audience, among them a party of schoolchildren. >> it is quite an honor, especially since one of the
benedict xvi says he'll resign at the end of this month after only eight years as leader of the world's 1 billion roman catholics. he says it's because of his age and his health. and now the question being asked around the world, who will be the next pope? we're watching what's going on. we have several correspondents in rome. pope benedict's papacy has been marked by serious controversies, especially the sex abuse scandal and his prior role as the church's lead investigator personally handling every single case that made its way to the vatican. cnn's brian todd is working this part of the story for us. we're going to go to rome in just a few moments, but tell us what's going on. >> reporter: wolf, here at the basilica of the national shrine of the immaculate conception they were shocked as anyone. this is the spot where it was one the most talked about moments of his visit to the united states almost five years ago. the place where he addressed one of the biggest controversies of his tenure and there was certainly no shortage of those during his papacy. the scrutiny began before he even
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